Solar microgrid for crop production facility in Indiana


Emergent Solar Energy recently completed a solar microgrid system near Greensburg, Indiana, which is expected to generate enough emissions-free clean energy to offset nearly 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide over its lifetime, the same amount produced from driving 5 million miles.

The system consists of a 65-kilowatt, bifacial ground-mount solar array plus 30 kilowatts of energy storage with a natural gas and propane backup generator. It also includes charging stations for electric vehicles that will replace the farm’s gas-powered vehicles over time and further use clean energy production for their operation.

Headquartered at Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Indiana, Emergent Solar Energy provides solar solutions to the commercial, industrial, municipal and agricultural sectors across the state of Indiana

Jeremy Lipinski, managing partner at Emergent Solar Energy, said it is the company’s first design with multiple sources of power generation and energy storage.

“This microgrid solution uses solar energy plus energy storage along with being connected to the REMC, or Rural Electric Membership Corp., utility grid,” Lipinski said. “It optimizes the farm’s energy use of the lowest-cost source of energy at any moment, thereby reducing the energy costs and fixing an increasing input.”

Solar panels installed on the Corya System PCF crop production facility in Decatur County, Indiana, are part of a larger system to reduce its carbon footprint.

Emergent Solar Energy

The Corya System is a group of integrated agribusiness investment and operating companies that own, develop and lease farmland and specialized agricultural infrastructure including crop production, grain storage and livestock production facilities.  This is the first addition of PV to Corya System’s portfolio. P. David Corya, general manager of the Corya System, decided to implement solar energy options for several economic and sustainability reasons.

“From an economic perspective, the project offsets traditional grid usage and insulates our operation from rising energy prices, creating a significant and growing cost of production advantage, while enabling additional future cost savings from electric vehicle fleet conversion,” Corya said.

“From a sustainability perspective, we are committed to stewardship practices that protect air, soil, water and wildlife.”

Lipinski said the application of on-farm solar plus energy storage makes sense when renewable energy can be dispatched to offset the highest-cost demand and charge the battery bank at the lowest cost.

Total solar investment in Indiana is approximately $1.5 billion. Growth projection is 5,971 MW over the next five years and the State is ranked 18th (up from 32nd in 2020), according to SEIA.

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